October 2008

A Cloud over MS

October 20, 2008

Interesting article about google vs. MS.

Networked Generation of Non-Market Value

Here a fantastic conference of Yochai Benkler on his book "The Wealth of Networks'. It was sent to me by David Sullivan, a digital guy with molecular dreams.

Ontologizing or acting with others in shared worlds

Ontologies, in my practical understanding, are theoretical frameworks that offer a set of distinctions -and relations between them- to articulate what are the fundamental aspects of the being of a particular being. What is important to keep in mind is that in creating the ontological framework to grasp the phenomenon, you also define the phenomenon to be grasped and -by extension- the territory for the emergence of anomalies.

Ancient understanding of being as a being such that has  essence and existence has practical consequences in our daily life. It contributes to the belief that a human being has a surface, an appearance, and on the other hand, probably an essence, a fundamentally true nature that defines what that individual really is. So, appearance and essence can be coherent, aligned, or they can be highly misleading. What is interesting about this ancient ontology -still alive in our common sense- is that it may invite us to ask ourselves about our first impression and orient us to maintain open questions all along a relationship. A certain humble inquire in front of the inexhaustibly other and their unaccessible essence. However, this distinction has its flip side, and it can be used in a fundamentalist fashion to characterize others disregarding their appearance -actions, utterances, presence-. Specially in regimes or institutions that claim to have some privileged access to the inaccessible essences.

Modern Ontology, as articulated by Descartes and Kant offers a whole new perspective. Being is characterized as subject able to discern and doubt while confronted with a unambiguously commensurable res extensa . In this approach we are a kind of being that is intrinsically well equipped to observe, explain and transform the world around them. Moreover, "observation" has a particular characteristic, observations can be "objective". In other words, individuals may have access to the essence of things, to the transcendent, universal characteristic of something. The interesting aspect of this ontology is that it gave a lot of legitimacy to the individual, the person, to discern and engage in controversies. This impetus was particularly relevant for the development of science and technology and marked the religious/scientific struggles of the Renaissance.

Post Modern Ontologies, as articulated by Heidegger moves the center of gravity from the individual to the "whole" -clearing-; from the articulated present-to-hand foreground to the transparent background of the ready-to-hand -cultural and practical habits-; and from abstract generalizations to the concrete texture of the being-there-with-others-in-the-world as such. The beauty and value of this post-modern ontology is that it provides a robust context for dealing with the challenges of living together in local/global communities. In simple terms, only the experience of anxiety (nothingness) gives us an ephemeral chance to regain some access to the shared whole, to the shared background and to the other in a vibrant and creative fashion.

Ontological Design belongs to this post modern stream. Flores makes an original contribution to post modern ontologies by building on Heidegger and J.L. Austin controversial understanding of language. In doing so, he now moves the center of gravity from the past to the future; and from contemplation to action. In this very same orientation Hanna Arendt and Paul Ricoeur explore the language of commitments in moral, ethical and political discourses.  The value of this Ontological Design -post modern- approach is its capacity to design, develop social practices in a simple, powerful and accessible way.

"Ontologizing" is a OD practice to transform any valuable disciplinary discourse -set of distinctions- in distinctions that are build out of specific actions and commitments. In doing so, notions as communication, listening, innovation, management, trust, leadership or networked networks loose their vagueness and are transformed in accesible practical tools.

Barack Obama Campaign Launches Official iPhone Application - sweet?

October 03, 2008

Tell iPhone users to visit http://www.barackobama.com/iphone and download the Obama '08 free application. Use it to organize your contacts and make calls into key battleground states.

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